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Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Rover jobs crisis
Many of the job losses will be at Longbridge
Many of the job losses will be at Longbridge
The Rover sell-off could lead to job losses of 19,000 in the West Midlands, an official study leaked to a national newspaper warned.

The jobs could go within months and the prospects for workers of finding similar jobs are slim, the draft report leaked to The Guardian newspaper warns.

It needs more than a sticking plaster response

Leaked report into impact of Rover job losses
Economists fear the impact of the job losses could spread beyond the immediate area.

"We firmly believe that it will be extremely difficult for the regional economy to rapidly absorb any largely-scale rundown of Rover activity at present," the report is quoted as saying.

The report is due to be presented next Wednesday to Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers, the paper says.

Mr Byers is already under pressure to increase a 129m aid package pledged for the region.

The report is being discussed on Thursday by an emergency taskforce set up by Mr Byers.

Taskforce members will be told that those whose jobs are threatened earn an average of 25,000, well above the UK average wage.

Rover is the key to the West Midlands economy, supporting some 50,000 jobs. It is not only the company's suppliers that are at risk, but also local cafes, shops and pubs.

Rover spends about 735m locally and the restructuring of the company could prove a "major shock, not only locally, but possibly nationally", the study says.

"It needs more than a sticking plaster response," it adds.

Bleak future

Rover's parent company BMW blamed poor sales and the strength of sterling for its decision to sell its UK subsidiary.

The bulk of the company, involving the Birmingham-based LOngbridge plant, is being bought by venture capital firm Alchemy partners which plans to link up with luxury car maker Lotus to make an MG sports car.

It also hopes to take on contract production of other cars.

Alchemy unveiled its business plan earlier this week, but has not indicated how many jobs will be lost at the plant.

Up to 4,000 jobs are expected to go at the Birmingham plant if the Alchemy bid is completed, as it intends to scale back production.

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See also:

17 Apr 00 | Business
Alchemy plans sports car
12 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Byers 'not guilty' over Rover
09 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Millions to retrain Rover workers
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